Long summer days in the office set the mind wandering for places to spend those all too scarce balmy Manchester evenings. If a good feed is what you’re looking for it’s hard to go wrong on Burton Road.
On a street that’s difficult to find anywhere that you won’t want to stop a while, Pinchjo’s Tapas bar tempts many through its doors with their laid back atmosphere, cracking food and potent cocktails.
Stepping inside we find built in wooden benches and walls painted a warm red, the decor definitely sets me off reminiscing about holidays past. Perusing a concise but enticing menu, it seems the only way to get things started would be cocktails. Cucumber counteracts the heat of the chilli in a jalapeno Margarita and the cachaca in my citrusy Caiparinha certainly packs its own punch.
Service is relaxed and informal but attentive and knowledgeable. Our waiter recommends the breaded goats cheese as his favourite dish and it’s not hard to see why, balanced beautifully with a salad of beetroot shards, carrot shavings and the sweetest of pomegranate seeds. Alongside we have courgette and spring onion feta fritters that are crisp but melt-on-the-tongue. My personal favourite was the Morcilla, a Spanish black pudding with a smoky flavour and almost sticky texture that I first tried myself in a fried breakfast a few weeks ago. Thin lightly grilled slices of the sausage served here topped with peas, green beans and feta do it more justice though with the peas in particular tasting fresh out the pod and offer a reminder that sometimes the humblest ingredient on the menu can be the star of the show. Undoubtedly the sort of plate that gets you wishing you weren’t sharing your food.
Onto some more recognisably Spanish favourites, with seafood paella, patatas bravas and gambas pil pil completing our 6 tapas dishes. The paella rice has a deep paprika flavour drawn from the healthy amount of chorizo it’s studded with and tender squid rings and prawns benefit from that richness. Patatas bravas can often be a little uninspiring but lashings of roasted red peppers keep things interesting. The potatoes could have been a little crispier for my liking but I’m being picky, the bowl doesn’t last long. Garlic prawns land on the table still sizzling and have been filling the whole bar with their aroma for the last few minutes. A hint of cumin gives them a delicious earthy flavour and the remaining oil in their terracotta pot is quickly mopped up with a few stray spuds.
We probably should have left it there, bursting at the seams, but I can’t say no to chocolate desserts. The homemade almond and pistachio chocolate cake is served warm with a dollop of cream and a couple of raspberries. It’s crunchy on top and moist throughout, a real show stopper, well worth having to linger a little longer for it to all go down. With the delicious Peruvian beer Cusquena and a few more cocktails on the go I’m easily persuaded and you can see how the atmosphere of this place has helped it become a popular haunt for locals and those from further afield.